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Author Archive - Ian J Cook

Ian J. Cook MA, MBA, CHRP, continues to pursue a fascination for people and business. His quest to understand what it takes for organizations, and the people in them, to thrive has led to many fantastic career stages. Ian has been an entrepreneur, an operational manager and spent 10 years, consulting to some of the World’s leading companies. Read more

HR analytics process: Ask better questions

Every HR trend report I have read this year has a focus on analytics and data as one of the top 5 trends. Having helped this field emerge over the last 5 years this was rewarding to see. At the same time I was struck by the gap between the level of expectation about the returns from HR analytics and the current level of practice that we see. In short, to meet the expectations of business leaders in relation to HR analytics we are going to need to get very focused and very effective, quickly.

 

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People analytics for business: In high heels and backwards

fred astaire and ginger rogers ballroom dancing

Business measurement and analytics has been growing in importance for many years. It has spawned a whole new type of management thinking about evidence-based strategy and decisions. The sophistication levels keep increasing. Here is an example; an online retailer takes real-time data from their customers browsing habits. They pass this to their suppliers who can then can anticipate sales volumes. The suppliers link this to production schedules and to raw material purchasing leading to a a truly integrated supply chain. There is a real elegance to these systems. They move like a dancer in perfect time and balance, leading to performance excellence.

 

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The winds of change: Making HR measurement happen

The momentum behind measurement in HR is growing and what I learned from the trip indicates that one of the drivers of change has shifted.

 

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HR Metrics: “Data suppresses anti-bodies”

I came across the title of today’s piece in Guy Kawasaki’s book “the Art of the Start”. It has made me smile for the last week. The quote elegantly expresses why HR practitioners need to be measuring. Here is why

 

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HR metrics: Linking qualitative and quantitative measurement

Last month I promised a description of a metric which starts to take organizations deeper into the insight they need to be successful and to show real results. True to my promise here it is:

 

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Start with firm foundations to obtain stable HR data

I am often contacted by human resources groups and analysts looking to take their work to the next level and discover the next great insight. Often they are seeking some holy grail or mystic equation that will simply answer the complex questions that human systems create. This is a worthy and powerful quest and one which is moving human resources groups and the organizations they serve into a better and more productive position. Unfortunately…

 

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Strategy misaligned to HR

This week I was helping a colleague figure out what their HR data was telling them and how to put this into a report. The first place to start was the organizational goals and where they wanted to get to.

 

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HR measurement – a Trojan Horse

Last week was a first for me. I was asked to present on human resources measurement to an audience of finance professionals. The response to my sold out sessions was mixed. Some wanted to know more. Others wanted to be able to put people measurement into a simple box, record this as a consistent item on the balance sheet, and get back to the serious business of money.

 

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Neither too little nor too much: HR spending and resignations

Here is one of the first interesting results produced from the Human Resources Metrics Service database. There is a clear relationship between what an organization spends on HR and the level of resignations it experiences…

 

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The HR long game

For many in the human resources function, every day is a series of reactions and responses to events. The experience of work is the constant juggle of urgent demands to hire people, sort out employment issues, deal with grievances or conflicts, resolve pay demands or other requests. All of these activities are important and urgent and place an immediate call on our attention and action. This experience creates a habit, where new information is reviewed with a bias to action or crisis. If there is nothing urgent or important here then the information can be ignored—there is nothing to do…

 

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Perception is reality

Last night, I was presenting to an MBA class at the University of British Columbia. For interest’s sake, I started with the question, “what are your perceptions of HR?”

The negative answers I got back were not surprising…

 

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Data vs. uncertainty

One of the main barriers to a good decision is uncertainty. This is especially true when…

 

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Predictive analytics for HR

The start of any year is the time to focus on trends. Predictive analytics is one of the trends that looks “hot” for 2012 in the world of HR measurement.

 

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The future is in our hands – and in the data!

For my last post of 2011, I will follow the age old tradition of predictions for 2012. The slight twist is that the post will feature someone else’s predictions—much easier than gazing into my own crystal ball.

 

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The cost of measurement

Once you have a reputation as a “measurement guy” you get a lot of speaking requests. Recently I was asked to speak on a wellness topic. In the end I declined because even though the measurement aspects of the question were clear, I did not have the knowledge of the topic to deliver well. The request got me thinking about the costs of measurement. Often this is an area that is not considered when people get into the question of finding data.

 

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